Simmons slowed by sore left side

Simmons slowed by sore left side

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Andrelton Simmons' bid to begin this season as Atlanta's starting shortstop has been recently slowed as he has battled some discomfort in his left side. But the fact that he has not played the past three days does not rule out the possibility that he will win his position battle with Tyler Pastornicky.

"Simmons doesn't need to show what he can do," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's pretty solid."

While recording just three hits in his past 26 at-bats, Simmons has provided more reason to believe he will be overmatched if he makes the jump from Class A to the Major Leagues to start the season. Meanwhile, Pastornicky has shown some signs of life with nine hits in his past 25 at-bats.

But with just three hits in his past 16 at-bats, Pastornicky has not overwhelmed those who have been underwhelmed by what he offers with his glove. This group has contended that Simmons' superior defensive skills negate the offensive struggles he might encounter while batting in the eighth spot of the lineup.

Gonzalez hopes Simmons will be able to return to the lineup within the next couple of days. The hope has been that this extra rest will prevent him from suffering an oblique strain that would sideline him for a few weeks.

"We're trying to not make something that is small, big," Gonzalez said.